Monday, 11 August 2014 4 comments

OCD medications

Largely over the years, my experience with medication for OCD has been centred around SSRI's (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors). In the scheme of mental health medication, these are relatively new medicines but have become widely used from everything from depression to eating disorders.

Over the years I have taken the following (some names might be UK only or brands, I'm not sure) -

SSRIs
Paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat)
Citalopram (Cipramil, Celexa)
Escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex)
Fluoxetine (Prozac)
Sertraline (Zoloft, Lustral)

Tricyclic antidepressant
Clomipramine (anafranil)

Of all of these medications, in terms of impact on OCD, I think I found Clomipramine the best. However, the side effects made it counter-productive. I was getting a very dry mouth, tiredness, sweating ridiculously, trouble sleeping and absolutely no sex drive.

With paroxetine and Citalopram I couldn't stop my legs bouncing when sitting down. I think it's called something like restless leg syndrome or something. I kind of had this anyway due to anxiety but the bouncing of my legs was worse and was fuelling anxiety. In fact I think Citalopram heightened my anxiety more than anything else I've tried. That's when a change came and I was offered Escitalopram.

Escitalopram was the medication I was on the longest. It solved the problems I had with Citalopram and was reasonably effective. It came about that I had to stop taking this though as it was not getting approval from the medical community in the UK. It was proving dangerous for certain patients and some research had linked it to heart problems and some other stuff, but this was mostly in older patients. A decision was taken by various medical boards that it shouldn't be prescribed any more. It sounds like these doctors were being overly cautious, but my doctor was getting flack for prescribing it to me on an on-going basis despite the latest denouncing of the drug.

Fluoxetine was useless. It made no difference to me whatsoever. I was on 20mg, then 40mg, then 60mg and it was like I wasn't on any medication at all. Absolutely no impact. I tell you what, that was a hard few months going through the dosage changes and waiting for improvement. They say 4-6 weeks for every new medication or dosage increase. Working through different medications is a difficult thing. Not only can it increase the very symptoms you are trying to get rid of, but because you also know that you can't expect any improvement for the next several weeks, you end up wondering how on earth you are going to get through it? Today is too long for me to endure, never mind 6 weeks!!

Sertraline is my current SSRI and I have to say I am rather pleased with it. I have some side effects like almost falling asleep every afternoon while at work, but I try to fix this by standing up and having a walk around the office for a few minutes to wake up. I also sweat quite a bit more than normal (hyperhidrosis), but that's the worst of the side effects. Sertraline has not removed my thoughts, as I think they are quite normal thoughts anyway, but they help reduce the anxiety that normally accompanies them.

I have a level of anxiety all of the time and the sertraline doesn't remove that, but it's managed to the level that I can be functioning with the anxiety, even use it occasionally to my advantage. My mind still races and I can either zone in on a specific topic intensely or be jumping around frantically, but the sertraline seems to be preventing any debilitating bouts of anxiety, fear and any all-consuming compulsions.

Sometimes I think that if people knew what I was thinking, they'd truly believe I was insane. Especially when medication does not eradicate the whole problem.

The purpose of this post is not to dissuade anyone from trying these medications. I don't want anyone going to their doctor and saying "LDSruminations says Prozac is awful, so I won't take it".

This post is more about saying that if you try a medication and it doesn't work, there are other options. In fact Prozac might be the very one for you. While it didn't work for me it works for many other people. I have just found that some were better than others for me.

I was once close to being prescribed an anti-psychotic as well, but that scared me a bit and I told the doctor just to leave me on SSRIs. Just the name of that type of drug scares me. I went down the route of believing I was schizophrenic at the mere suggestion. That caused several weeks of anxiety and checking medical sources for symptoms that matched mine.

There are medical options out there, and it is very wise to consult professionals about them. As long as it doesn't exacerbate your condition, doing your own research is helpful too. It was my own research that led to the diagnosis of OCD in the first place.

I had no clue about OCD until I googled my thoughts. What a mind bending trip I was put on when my compulsion to check the internet and medical symptoms actually yielded some beneficial fruit. I was astounded that I was reading exactly how I felt. I wasn't trying to make it fit, it just did.

Reading and knowledge can be your friend in the right circumstances.

If you are on or considering medication, it is my belief that it is a worthwhile course of action. I don't know if I will ever be off medication again, as I've proven to relapse very badly when I'm off medication but I am losing my pride in this instance and submitting to the prospect I may need them long-term.
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 0 comments

Call it what it is

I started thinking yesterday back to when it was first confirmed that I had OCD. I chose to reflect a little bit because it’s easy to often get lost in just getting through the day.

I remember one of the first things I learnt about how to deal with OCD.

It was the idea of every time an obsessive thought comes, you are to stop a second and label it.

Labelling means telling yourself it is an OCD thought and not coming from you per se.

At first I remember starting to do this and it not making any difference at all. In fact in some ways it made me feel like I was lying to myself and it was just another way for me to not face the truth.

I mean how can a thought you have in your head, which goes with an emotional reaction so deeply felt and poignant, be wrong?
That is the $64million question.

I struggle all the time with this still, but labelling it is a necessary process.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect in this and I have certainly not overcome OCD, but when this labelling is done regularly, over an extended period of time, you can start to believe it as a possibility.

Separating yourself from certain thoughts and suggesting that they are not really you is a useful technique.

I have come to identify OCD thoughts with something almost like a passenger who follows me around, and is a terrible conversationalist.

It’s a bit like that nagging kid in the back of the car on a long journey, but the journey doesn’t seem to end. What’s the destination?? I dunno.

For a time I was very disciplined in labelling thoughts as obsessive or not. It worked relatively well. The challenge is in being consistent and that’s where I fail a bit.

My wife and I do not like talking about OCD as OCD. It all sounds very doom and gloom. So, although slightly crazy, we have given it all a name.

Ladies and gentleman, let me introduce PETE!

We call it Pete. That’s it’s name.

So when I am feeling a bit consumed in thoughts etc I can say to myself “Pete is an asshole”.

I say to my wife “Pete is being an asshole again”.

Sorry for the sudden appearance of a swear word, but that’s how it goes. This statement doubles up as a labelling of the thought and also an exposure to scrupulosity worries.

In the scrupulous mind swearing is akin to taking someone’s life or something close.

So I say that swear word to describe OCD.

It’s surprisingly refreshing.

Who would have thought that a good swear word could calm anxiety.

Is God going to disown me or leave me alone for simply saying “asshole”??

Sanity says no, but OCD says yes.

I have to take that chance.

Labelling alone is not enough. It's a great start, but other stuff has to follow I think. I've got some ideas and thoughts on that, but maybe for another post.
Monday, 14 July 2014 0 comments

Triggers and the descent into the inner mind

I have noticed all of my images on the site have disappeared. Well isn’t that a tad annoying!!

I have gone through all of the processes to try and locate the images, but it seems like my whole gallery has disappeared from google. Maybe my fat fingers hit a big ol’ delete button without realising.

Whatever the reason, the images are gone.

Sorry about that.

They were probably the best things on here.

One really interesting thing about OCD, or my OCD, is that I end up having OCD about OCD.
Boy does that get confusing!!

Many times I obsess about whether what I have is actually OCD. Maybe I’m just trying to make it fit. Maybe it’s just another lie and distraction from the TRUTH of my thoughts.

After all, surely it was lying and distraction that got me in this confused mess in the first place right?

I HAVE TO FIGURE IT OUT!

I HAVE TO GET ANSWERS!

I HAVE TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS!

Or so my head tells me.

I was having a chat with someone over the weekend and they were asking me if I thought I knew what the triggers were. I stumbled. I couldn’t come up with an answer.

Cue spending the rest of the weekend worrying about whether I actually had OCD or not. Maybe I’m just lying? Maybe I’m just deceiving myself? The diagnosis all seems a bit too convenient does it not?

I mean what are the chances that there is a medical condition whose symptoms completely match up with my general daily feelings. I know! Sounds way too convenient right. I must be lying to myself!! There is no other possible explanation.
I may as well have had this to obsess about, because if it wasn’t this it would just be something else.

When I get to this stage, my normal reaction is to google it and read everything I possibly can about OCD to either confirm or denounce my diagnosis. Ahhhh blessed reassurance, which never lasts!!

The hours I have spent on google reading about OCD is obscene. I could have used that time and effort to become a millionaire. Heck maybe I’d be ruling the world right now, the effort and time spent was so significant.

Google and I have a love hate relationship. Not only is it my number 1 re-assurer, but it is also my number 1 nemesis.

I flippin’ hate/love Google.

It is tough to identify triggers and hold on to that definition or clarity because when Obsessions flare up again it doesn’t really matter to me what the trigger was, I am too lost in the thoughts and anxiety.

Something decent came of it though. It made me think of my triggers for a post. Hopefully posting them here gives me a physical as well as a mental reminder of what these are. I mean I guess I know them, but I just haven’t nailed them down for long enough to make an impact, due to second guessing whether I have OCD in the first place.

Generic triggers
Stress – busy life, lots to do

Tiredness – if I miss sleep then I really feel anxious

Specific triggers
Reading scriptures – I am just like the bad people the scriptures talk about. I can see all my sins and the damnation awaiting me if I don't change. Oh and have I denied the Holy Ghost? - Wow that’s a strange one huh

Hearing controversial or ‘anti Mormon’ discussions or topics – The mere suggestion of disagreement leads to the question ‘Is my whole life a lie?’ (My biggest challenge right now)

Work/employment – It’s like my brain is annoyed that I have to focus on something else, other than OCD. I spend all day at work fighting for headspace to concentrate on my job. A good example of this is that I am at work typing this right now. I have to get this out in the hope I will be able to work a bit later on. Maybe my blog is becoming part of a compulsion to this obsession with OCD.

Any kind of discussion of an existential nature – MIND BLOWN – back to square one

There are more I reckon, but these are the main current ones. I can see how OCD has changed over the years. It started with scrupulosity, confessing everything!! It moved to relationship OCD, fear of who I loved and who I didn’t. Then it was existentialist stuff. Now it’s scrupulosity and existentialist stuff all wrapped up together.

I am almost intrigued as to what is coming next.

So, what a lovely life it is when you are freaked by the idea of going to work and sitting there for 8 hours a day, anxious when you have anything to do, on edge with even slight tiredness, can’t turn to the scriptures for uplift and support, feeling like your whole life is a lie and then questioning if you or Neptune really even exists, and if so, where and how?
Every thought as it occurs is so powerful and consuming.

But I will tell you one thing……… I actively try not to give in to any of it.

Do I go to work every day? YES.

Do I get on with my busy schedule? YES.

Do I read Scriptures? YES.

Do I go to church and teach lessons? YES.

I will tell you one thing…. It’s hard!! However, these hard things are the things that will save me in time.
I used to avoid reading scriptures, and I must have gone about two years without even opening them. However, every day is now my exposure therapy. This makes every day a challenge. It almost feels easier to just give in to the thoughts. At least then it would just be the thoughts and not an active fight against them. But the fight is necessary.

While a ‘fight’ sounds very active, it can actually be passive. Involved in the exposure therapy for me is trying to ignore what I am being told in my head and then just engaging with the thing I’m scared of. It’s really tough sometimes, but it gets easier. I just wish it lasted longer.

I fight all day long. The frustrating thing is once I’ve broken down the barriers a bit one day, the next day I wake up and they are all back again.

I think I’m making progress, but then there’s just those days that grab you by the throat and choke any sense of safety and wind out of you. The chest tightens. The brain races. The legs twitch constantly and you feel hyper aware of everything around you, even though the truth is you are only aware of your own feelings.

I need to figure this stuff out a bit better. I do quite well pretending. This just adds to the sense of living a lie. Sometimes I over compensate, trying to be all light and jovial. I’m pretty sure that becomes annoying.
I am going to make a post about my compulsions soon as I am beginning to see more of them. I also want to try and put my thoughts down about scrupulosity at some future point, but one step at a time. I have work to do.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014 0 comments

Faith and OCD

We believe that Faith is the beginning and foremost principle of the Gospel.

With the definition of FAITH being 'the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen', the very nature of Faith suggests not only a degree of not knowing, but potentially having conflicting information presented to us which we cannot resolve intellectually or with the collection of all available facts. Do we ever really have all the information?

Reason is an important starting point for belief and even faith, but faith takes that reason and then extrapolates what you can gather, and steps into the unknown. Both reason and faith are needed so we can know where our knowledge and reason ends and where faith begins.

All faith is blind in some way, but never wholly blind, as many critics of faith tend to assume, because we know what we know and exactly what it is that we don’t know. We know our questions. We know the discrepancies.

If exercising faith is a key fundamental principle of the Gospel and God’s proscribed plan for us, why do we sometimes act or feel so surprised when we come across a difficult situation in life that requires us to act when we don’t have all the answers?


President David O. McKay said, “The rich rewards come only to the strenuous strugglers.”


That doesn't sound like a piece of cake does it? It implies only those who have moments of struggle even have a chance of receiving rich rewards.

OCD is your struggle. It has a purpose. It's not solely to afflict you or cause you pain, but it's there to help you grow. With OCD you have to clearly recognise by reason what is right and wrong, what is obsessive in nature. You always know it sounds wrong, yet fear is there instead of faith.

You don't have all the answers, but then again you don't need them.

Life has no certainties, so why are we seeking them, or closing ourselves off because we are scared of some circumstances?

Seek answers. learn what you can. There is much good in the world and plenty of medical knowledge. We really need to lose the fear though, and seek for faith in Christ who sees all things and, when asked, is the author and finisher of our faith.

Let him start writing faith in your heart so you can overcome your troubles, and in time you can just let go of what you don't know with the assurance that it will be ok.


Thursday, 12 June 2014 2 comments

Congruence

Congruence

What a beautiful word.

Congruence means ‘agreement, harmony, or compatability’.

When there is congruence in a situation, it means that two or more parts come together to make everything flow easily, work well and feel right. This is where we get to another beautiful word – ‘synergy’

Synergy means ‘The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.’

So when two or more parts come together, each with their own unique attributes, they combine in a ‘congruent’ way that means, together, they achieve a higher and greater potential than if they were to remain separate.

Sorry for the English lesson but I feel these words are very important to me, especially in relation to OCD.

There are two parts to each of us. The internal us and the external us. We can tell people about ourselves, but no matter who you are, or how much you talk with someone else, they will never really know everything there is to know about you. I just don’t think we are built to do that, but also we are so complex that I just don’t think we’ve all got enough time to spill the beans on who we are completely. There is naturally therefore a difference between the internal and external us, because to others some of our internal is always unknowable.

My wife and I are close. We trust each other and feel comfortable with each other. We have achieved a level of understanding between us that we could share almost anything with each other. Our sense of knowing each other, much like everyone else, is based on broader principles, yet we don’t know all the little details and all the thoughts and all the nuances of feelings. She sees the external me as well as more of the internal me than anyone else. My wife definitely doesn’t know the extent of my OCD. I just don’t want to talk about all of that with her. Don’t get me wrong, she knows a lot, but individual thoughts and emotions she has no idea really.

The internal part of us, more often than not, needs to agree and be in harmony with the external persona we put forward. Not that we have to be an open book about everything, but they have to correspond. This is normally a given. We can’t help but be who we are. This is what makes us comfortable being us. However, we can for periods of time put up a front, constantly control our responses and say we are fine when we are not etc.

The lesson I've learned is that this is really hard work. It is exhausting.

With OCD this is not often a choice. We generally feel that there is no agreement, no harmony, no congruence between ourselves internally and what we share with others. It has internal effects that we just don't want to share with others because they are embarassing, shameful and upsetting. This is all because the obsessive thought doesn’t even fit with our beliefs on who we really are internally. It doesn’t match up to the way we define ourselves, or how we wish to portray ourselves.

We hide it. We stop people seeing it. This then makes us think we are living a lie. We present something different to what actually feel when we are trying to cope with it.

We are put at odds with our own perception of who we are and therefore feel fake and false in the world as we try to live despite that discrepency. OCD can make you very tired. It’s almost like your brain is doing ten times as much work as others. You are filtering all the time. You are choosing to hold back and hide what’s really going on.

We must never see this as deceitful, but rather it’s about self preservation.

There can be real incongruence between how you feel and how you act.

Not all OCD thoughts lead to incongruence, Some are so scary to us that they actually stop daily activities in their tracks and we are consumed with the thought or the compulsion. This is what people see. This is what I hate the most. It is almost like I am betraying myelf. The thing I want to hide pours out like a cracked water dam suddenly exploding for everyone else to see.

Before this gets depressing…..

I am learning that there is more congruence than you think. Just like the relationship with my wife, I am trying to accept things in broader terms. Broadly speaking, who am I? What do I stand for? In the scheme of things where do I fit in?

The belief that every thought or every emotion or every feeling has to be entertained as significant is the first fallacy.

Everyone has all kinds of thoughts. The difference is others can filter them and clearly choose which ones are significant and which can be treated as fleeting thoughts.

Quite often people will have a thought, think about it for a minute and then, even unconsciously, rationally dismiss it. This ability to process a thought and disregard it is how I think most people maintain congruence between their internal and external personas.

For OCD sufferers the problem is exacerbated by ‘synergy’. The combination of thought and anxiety together leads to a devastating combined force that is much stronger than just the sum of the thought and the anxiety. Together they make what seems like a formidable opponent.

Synergy works both ways. The perceived incongruence between the internal and the external creates the negative synergy.

I like to think of OCD as a challenge of achieving congruence between the internal and the external. It involves embracing and accepting thoughts and situations. Once we can accept our thoughts, whatever they are, we automatically experience greater congruence, since we are not running away or fighting them.

We also break down the barrier between ourselves and others. If we are more settled with the problem, we are not so scared of sharing it with others.

If we can work in broader terms and develop congruence between the internal and the external personas there is great power in bringing them together. Developing congruence between these will lead to positive synergy, where we can start to achieve greater things than we would ever have imagined in our current OCD haze.

Remove the barriers between the internal and external. Be yourself. Accept who you are. Don't be afraid of thinking a thought, embrace it as something that is going on in your mind. As you become more comfortable with the thought, it loses its power.

For additional help, maybe another thing to consider is congruence and synergy between ourselves and the Saviour? Does combining our efforts with His create synergy? I'm pretty sure it does.
Friday, 30 May 2014 0 comments

Being healed of OCD from a Mormon's perspective - a process and not an event

** having read this since posting it, it reads like a few scattered thoughts and is not as clear as i thought it would be. I am going to rework this a bit but will leave this up in the meantime as it is not terrible. **

In the scriptures when the Saviour healed physical conditions, it seems immediate and instant to us as we read. As soon as the Saviour declared it gone, sickness was removed entirely. In a number of instances he told those who reached out to him that they were ‘made whole’, which probably meant so much more than physical health.

If that is the case, then why won't the Saviour do that for me? I have often thought "Where is my instant help?"

A thought struck me one day........ I wonder if any of those who were healed would have called it 'a quick fix'. Maybe to suggest to them that it was a quick fix would have gotten a snort and an incredulous look. With all of their years of struggling and prayer and begging before meeting the Saviour finally, probably rules out the idea of a quick fix.

Maybe we need to re-evaluate those years they spent afflicted. Were they part of a longer healing process? Maybe the challenges they had were necessary, as they helped them to develop enough humility and faith, to be ready for the Master’s final touch when that time came?

Just like with physical injuries, sometimes an operation may be necessary. For a time it may make the pain worse. However, the operation, which cuts, breaks and maybe even removes part of us, can correctly be called ‘healing’ or ‘being healed’. The fact we could not get better had we not had that painful operation, makes it a necessary part of healing. Therefore, my feeling is that healing is much more likely a process than an event.

It's the same with OCD. Facing the obsessions and compulsions can hurt ALOT. It may feel like we are being broken and undergoing emotional surgery, and that's because we are. It is necessary though. Meet that obsessions and compulsions head on. Realise it is a necessary part of healing. To take it away from us, would rob us of the parts of the process that are necessary to the healing process.

Now for the super religious bit......

Looking at the Saviour’s suffering, some of which is outlined in Mosiah 14 and uses such words as being despised, rejected, afflicted, smitten, wounded, bruised, chastised, oppressed, stricken. The phrase that stands out to me is this one from the Doctrine and Covenants - The Saviour felt the “fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God” (D&C 76:107)

In suffering for every man, woman and child he dealt with unimaginable pain and sorrow not only for sin but for all other difficulties, weaknesses, sicknesses and infirmities. When we try to measure that we start doing what Elder Maxwell calls the ‘Awful arithmetic of the atonement’.

But this suffering that the Saviour endured, was a necessary part of a bigger healing process that would encompass every child of our Heavenly Father.

I assume that it reaches it’s peak when the Saviour in the garden of Gethsemane where He feels forsaken and left to alone for a period of time. I would not be surprised if there was a few thoughts that ran through his mind that we may sometimes have too -

“I wish this could be over faster.” Or “I don’t know how much more I can take?” or “If I just had a moment’s rest, that would help and then I’ll be able to continue.”

What was it that got Him through it? It must have been the knowledge and, where knowledge failed, a belief and hope, that this was for a bigger and more glorious purpose. The view that what was to be suffered and endured would ultimately be to a greater end. This didn't make the pain any easier. It still had to be felt and endured, but it gave hope.


The road is rough I said, dear Lord,
There's stones that hurt me so;
And he said, dear child I understand,
I walked it long ago.
But there is a cool green path I said,
Let me walk there for a time;
No child He gently answered me,
The green road does not climb.

My burden I said is far too great,
How can I bear it so?
My child said he, I remember it's weight,
I carried my cross you know.
But I said I wish there were friends who would make my way their own,
Oh yes, he said, Gethsemane, was hard to face alone.

And so I walked that stoney path
Content enough to know,
That where my master had not gone,
I would not need to go...

And strangely then, I found, my friends,
The burden grew less sore,
As I remembered long ago, He had
Walked that way before.....

We need to trust, that our Saviour knows perfectly from his suffering, what difficulties and pains (maybe OCD) left in our way will make us better one day.

The Saviour cares more about our growth than He does about our comfort.

So our fight with OCD challenges in life can be seen as part of a healing process, made possible by him and under his watchful care.

In the middle of tragedies and problems, this eternal perspective can be hard to see. Our constant challenge is to try to remember and apply these immortal principles of the atonement to our mortal situations.

There's a great quote by Jeffrey R Holland that is important to remember with OCD, especially religiosity or scrupulosity -

“Jesus has chosen, even in a resurrected, otherwise perfected body, to retain for the benefit of His disciples the wounds in His hands and in His feet and in His side - signs, if you will, that painful things happen even to the pure and the perfect; signs, if you will, that pain in this world is not evidence that God doesn't love you; signs, if you will, that problems pass and happiness can be ours.”
― Jeffrey R. Holland, Created for Greater Things

Sometimes with OCD, and in life generally, we need to realise that there is no greater expression of faith in Jesus Christ than just getting up day after day hoping that things will work out while no immediate spiritual help is apparent.

This is not just wishful thinking or blind faith. It is a decision based on knowing fine well what you know, and also knowing fine well that there's lots of stuff you don't know. This is the test, the trial, the exercising of faith.

We must also understand that OCD is a medical condition that we must tackle from all angles. We must seek the professional help, which will most likely include medication, along with spiritual help.

We can sometimes feel that using medical help is a sign that our faith is weak, because if it was strong we'd rely wholly on the Saviour for a cure or a fix. WRONG!

The main part of our challenges in life, and no doubt with OCD, is about learning how we react to our challenges and what we learn from them. Our test is really not OCD at all, but how we are going to tackle the problem in front of us.

Seeing it in this light, surely a Saviour would want us to take whatever positive steps are available to us. I can't think of one good reason why the Saviour wouldn't want us to get all the help we can.

There is a time and a place for relying wholly on the Saviour. I do not believe that medical conditions is necessarily one of them. This may be down to how we actually interpret that idea, but I won't bore you with my analysis of what I think it means to 'rely wholly' on the Saviour.

The main idea of the word ’Grace’ is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ. This is important. As we do what we can we will find grace. Grace is not to solve our problems completely, but to help us along the way.

Grace is often administered by intangible things. Feelings that comfort us, feelings of hope and thankfulness. Knowledge and insight we previously didn’t have; a sense of support or being led, or added strength when we feel at our weakest. These all come because of the atonement.

OCD clouds this because it has such a hold on our thoughts, feelings and emotions. This does not mean however that they don't come and it definitely doesn't mean we won't feel anything, ever. It may just be a bit harder while in an OCD haze. That's why medication and therapy helps. It clears that haze so we see more clearly.

I have some terrible days. I have some great days. Mostly, I have days where I am just getting on with stuff. The terrible days are becoming fewer and further apart because of this change in thought process outlined above.

I no longer expect an instant cure, but I am going through the process of healing. This is better than being healed instantly. I am learning. I understand others better. I am kinder to myself and feel a dependancy on the Lord to teach me about the process rather than deliver me from it.
Friday, 25 April 2014 0 comments

Article in UK press about OCD

I was reading some online articles and came across this article today about OCD.

It an article by a man who has suffered years with OCD, particularly a fear of AIDS, who has written a book about the experience.

It's very good in that it points out the difference between the cultural beliefs about OCD and the reality of living with the disorder.

Here it is ....

www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2612719/The-waking-nightmare-life-grip-OCD

I am working on a couple of new blog posts which I will be putting up soon if anyone is interested in something new from me. I have no idea how many of the visits I see happening are repeat readers or all new one-off visitors.



Monday, 10 February 2014 0 comments

I’m not going down the spiral again!


I'll apologise just now, because this is not going to be a wholly inspiring blog post. It is instead going to be my current feelings.

I have felt so in control for so long, despite the odd moment, that I have forgotten it is possible to feel as bad as I do right now from OCD. This is not even the peak.

I have spent the last 4 or 5 days feeling that sinking and tightening feeling in my stomach from anxiety. It has been due to a number of things, but there was one specific thought, that I won’t tell you about because, despite having a blog, I’m not quite comfortable sharing all my unique quirky thoughts. Let’s just say it was in line with previous episodes.

I have gone back to the compulsions of surfing the internet for answers, trying to find something to read that will make me feel better. This is a very key sign of my OCD returning. I must find something to make the anxiety go away, whether it be medical information, or religious information.

The thoughts, the feeling and the compulsion to do something is like sitting at the top of a helter skelter with the only way down being the spiral slide. Then the force of gravity and a fear of heights combine together in such a way that you are almost incapable of stopping yourself letting go and sliding down.

I am determined that this time, no matter how bad the anxiety gets, I am not going to give in to it. I am not going to take the spiral slide into obsession and compulsion.

I feel like there is a switch in my head that can be flicked to take me from the milder anxiety I feel just now, to the fuller more intense OCD that consumes me for months at a time.

I am not flicking that switch, or letting anyone else near it!!!!

I wonder if this is following a cycle that has been established over the years, as it is roughly about every two years I have a big crash. I am right at the end of a two year period where I have been somewhat in control of my OCD.

Is part of the trigger a subconscious alarm clock going off telling me it’s time I indulge in OCD?

I am going to break the cycle.

I am going to start writing down how I feel again, acknowledging my thoughts and trying to give them some expression that is not a compulsion.

I am going to keep taking the medication.

I am going to accept how I feel rather than fight it or try to satisfy it.

I am going to keep up with my daily routine, no matter how difficult it feels every morning to get out of bed. This does include being kind to myself. I will only be doing the essentials and using the little spare time there is to live in the moment.

Sometimes the worst thing to happen is for your life to stop because of these thoughts and feelings. For me, that is when I start to feel even worse about myself. Not only am I ‘crazy’ but I’m so crazy I can’t even function. That must mean I’m useless as well. I am not the only one who suffers in these situations, so I then feel like I am hurting and harming others.

Then depression kicks in and it’s just another thing that adds to the downward forces pulling you into the spiral.

I have a great wife. I have great kids. I have a great job. I am very lucky in these things. There is no way I am going to let this stuff rob me of precious times with these people who I care for and love.

The anxiety has subsided before, and it will again. In the meantime I know it’s not going to be easy. It may last weeks or months, but there will come a time of respite. I am going to get there. I don’t want to lie in bed for a month or more, scared to move, to think and have my life put on hold for some thoughts that pass through my head.
 
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